Press Release

Fletchers Solicitors and Cycling UK stand up for vulnerable road users amidst latest whiplash consultation

Justice
Will the Government balance the scales of justice so Vulnerable Road Users receive a fair deal?
Fletchers Solicitors, specialists in motorcycle accident claims, and Cycling UK have joined forces to stand up for the rights of vulnerable road users, following the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on reforming the ‘whiplash’ claims process.

Under the current reforms vulnerable road users, such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, could lose access to justice, despite not being part of the perceived "compensation cultur"’ the reforms aim to tackle. 

The Government’s "blanket approach" fails to take into account that vulnerable road users are rarely, if ever, involved in the type of fraudulent claims that are being blamed for the soaring cost of car insurance. The Association of British Insurers states that around 70,000 dishonest motor claims took place in 2015, however, analysis from Fletchers’ own data shows that less than 0.0002% of motorcycle claims have any finding of dishonesty. 

Experts also argue that the proposals do not take into account the more complex nature of the type of accidents involving vulnerable road users. Not only are injuries more complex because they do not have the added protection of a vehicle, the question of who is to blame is twice as likely to be disputed in motorcycle cases compared to the average motor claim, according to Fletchers Solicitors. This makes it harder for such matters to be dealt with fairly through the small claims court.

Fletchers and Cycling UK are now calling for the Government to rethink its proposals and draw a clear distinction between claims from different types of road users, to defend the rights of bikers, cyclists and pedestrians who are clearly not part of the perceived problem.

Ed Fletcher, CEO of Fletchers Solicitors, says: “The Government’s latest plans to crack down on fraudulent whiplash claims threaten to seriously harm the rights of vulnerable road users. 

“While I’m sure we can all agree on the need to clamp down on fraudulent claims, the Government also needs to recognise that its current proposals will put vulnerable road users at a substantial disadvantage.

“At the moment, all sides seem to be focusing on the effect the reforms will have on car drivers, which is understandable given that the majority of road traffic claims come from this group. Yet it’s very worrying to see that little consideration is being given to the impact on other road users, such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. 

“To raise awareness of these concerns, we have joined forces with Cycling UK to stand up for the rights of society’s most vulnerable road users and get their voices heard. We hope that the Government will give our recommendations serious consideration, and agree that any reforms brought in should be limited to claims made by ‘occupants of a vehicle’ to defend the rights of bikers, cyclists and pedestrians.”

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s senior road safety officer, said: “The government keeps repeating that these reforms are designed to tackle fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims. Dressing these proposals up as whiplash reforms, when the impact extends far beyond whiplash claims, is inaccurate, lacks transparency, and demeans the pain and suffering of many innocent victims of crashes on our roads. 

“Whiplash claims by vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, are a real rarity. That’s because cyclists incur more extreme physical impact injuries like fractured collarbones and wrists when they hit metal or tarmac. 

“Given that seventy percent of cyclists’ personal injury claims are for less than £5,000, those people will be left with little choice if the small claims limit increases: either pay their lawyer with no chance of costs recovery so in real terms they end up under compensated, or choose to litigate the case themselves, or just abandon the claim altogether.

“The victims of road crashes are the real victims. The government should think again about reforms that will cheat the most vulnerable road users out of compensation for their injuries, under the pretence that this is all do with whiplash. The government should put the needs of victims before the needs of insurers."

Notes to Editors: 

About Cycling UK
Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. 

Cycling UK's response to the Ministry of Justice compensation is available online.

About Fletchers Solicitors
Established in Southport in 1987, Fletchers Solicitors is the largest medical negligence and personal injury practice in the UK, specialising solely in serious injury, medical negligence law and motorbike accidents. It currently deals with one in 10 of all medical negligence claims in England and Wales. The firm currently employs over 300 people.

Fletchers has received recognition twice in the London Stock Exchange’s ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ and has achieved the Investors in People (IIP) Gold Award. It has also received recognition within the Sunday Times 100 Best Places to Work For in 2016. 

Most recently, CEO Ed Fletcher was named as a top 100 UK lawyer in The Lawyer magazine’s ‘The Hot 100’ list in 2017 for his management expertise.

The firm is also aiming to become a Top 100 Law Firm by April 2018.
 
 

Cycling UK Press Office
Email: publicity@cyclinguk.org
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

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